07.31.12

The Nu Yankee Stadium : A Peaceful Place To Catch Up On Reading Bob Raissman

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 6:14 pm by

(perhaps this is part of the problem.  image culled from River Ave. Blues)

If the vibe at the new Yankee Stadium is somewhat akin to a night spent gawking at Las Vegas’ Forum Shops, it’s hardly hurt the Bombers’ performances on the field.  As the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman points out, the Yankees have slugged 89 HR’s at the venue he kiddingly calls “The Library”, with no apologies to Arsenal’s old Highbury Stadium.  However, along with suggesting criticism from ESPN’s Dan Shulman and Terry Francona might come to bear on future negotiations for Yankee radio rights (WCBS’ contract expires after this season), Raissman suggests disses of the Steinbrenner Family’s Glittering Monument To Avarice & Greed “might spark a debate over whether the Yankees actually have a home-field advantage”. Or at the very least, enough of a home field advantage. (h/t – Repoz, Baseball Think Factory)

“A big but somewhat quiet crowd at Yankee Stadium,” Shulman said. He was actually being kind.
Francona: “This ballpark is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But it just doesn’t seem like it has the atmosphere of the old one.”

Shulman said the ambience in the new Stadium was “different.” Orel Hershiser agreed with his partners. Francona called the old Stadium “electric” before getting more specific.

“As a visiting team, especially for the Red Sox, by the time the (national) anthem was over, you couldn’t wait to get back in the dugout,” Francona said. “Now (there is) a little different (kind) of fan sitting around down there by the dugout.”

Was Francona suggesting a fan fortunate enough to pay $2,000 per seat in front of the “moat” isn’t as passionate or loud as those who sat in “cheaper” box seats in the old joint? Do the $2,000 patrons have a collective case of lockjaw? Or are they too cool to root — loudly?

From the handful of games I’ve attended each season since the Nu Stadium’s 2009 opening, “big but somewhat quiet” is not an entirely inaccurate description, though it surely varies from game to game.  Were the Red Sox actually within striking distance of first place this season, it’s reasonable to expect the paying customers would’ve been exercising their right to free expression with more gusto.   Is the average fan who pays $2K for moat seats likely to keep a somewhat lower profile than Freddy Sez?  Probably, but keep in mind, even when Terry Francona was cowering in the visitor’s dugout at the Old Stadium, the Bronx’s priciest box seats were hardly within the entertainment budget of the borough’s average resident.  If you wanna call the Nu Stadium a playpen for the uber-wealthy and jaded, fair enough, but things were headed in that direction long before ground was broken on the new ballpark’s construction.

Of course, over in Queens, Mets fans need not worry about national broadcasters describing their crowds as “big yet quiet”.  As they’re not really that big.

Not Quite CSTB’s Greatest Hits : Duaner Sanchez’ Wild Ride, Chris Russo’s Wild Accusations

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:11 pm by

(EDITOR’s NOTE : Today marks the 6th anniversary of Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez’ 2006 season coming to an early close after a Miami car accident.  In this post from August 2, 2006, we recall Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, then employed by NYC’s WFAN, suggesting Sanchez had more on his mind than rabo encendido).

One heck of a performance by WFAN’s Chris Russo this afternoon. Not only has the Mad Dog wondered about Duaner Sanchez’ “poor judgement” in ending up in a taxi wreck late Sunday night, but Astoria’s biggest (only?) SF Giants fan has pointed out “we don’t even know for sure he was looking for a Dominican restaurant.”

“Dominican restaurant”, is after all, Russo code for crack den, strip club, Omar’s Copacabana Where Talented White Men Are Given Their Walking Papers, etc.

Russo’s listeners, thankfully, aren’t buying such innuendo. “What about Tom Glavine?” (another cab crash casualty) asked one reasonable soul.

“TOM GLAVINE WAS TRYING TO GET HOME TO HIS FAMILY!!” screamed Russo. “HE WASN’T OUT AT THREE IN THE MORNING!”

It clearly isn’t enough that Sanchez has suffered a serious injury during his breakout season. The reliever can now recover while hearing the drivetime host of The Mets’ flagship station trash his reputation.

Coming on  a future edition of the Mike Francesca’s On Vacation Show :

“Lyman Bostock : Victim Or Just Asking For It?”

NBC’s Ties To Twitter : Watch What You Tweet About Al Roker

Posted in Free Expression, olympics, Sports Journalism, Sports TV, twitter twatter at 11:50 am by

““The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel,” read the offending tweet from The Independent’s Guy Adams. “Tell him what u think!” Apparently, the naming and shaming of a television industry professional falls outside of Twitter’s standards and practices, as Adams finds himself banned from the service today. Either Twitter has picked a particularly convenient moment to exercise such censorship (the beneficiary in this case being a media partner) or Zenkel — much like Sirius/XM’s ethically challenged Dino Costa — believes he’s above public criticism. Slate’s Will Oremus wonders, “why can’t the public realize that any technical glitches are their own fault, and that it’s wrong to hold the network’s personnel accountable?”

Not long after, Adams’ Twitter account was suspended and his tweets disappeared. The social media site informed Adams that he had violated the site’s policy against “posting an individual’s private information.” And what might have prompted Twitter to enforce this heretofore-little-known policy? Well, an NBC Sports spokesperson acknowledged that the network filed a complaint with Twitter, but added, “Twitter alone levies discipline.”

Given that Twitter has partnered with NBC to offer an official Olympics page, my first thought would be that the network might have exercised some corporate leverage here. But that’s probably just because the situation is too complex for me to understand.

07.30.12

Canseco On The Aurora Massacre (Or, “Why Should John Rocker Get To Write All The Bullshit Editorials? “)

Posted in Baseball, Firearms, non-sporting journalism at 11:45 pm by

In a world in which Diamond Dallas Page is a yoga instructor, Andrew W.K. produces television programming for children and the director of “Trainspotting” directs the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, is it really so weird that Vice has commissioned former big leaguer Jose Canseco to pen a weekly column?  If you were expecting the avowed PED user to weigh in with an apology to Grass Widow, you might be disappointed with Jose’s less-than-trenchant analysis of this month’s tragic events in Aurora, CO (“ I think you have to send a message to the criminals: ‘No no no no no, you think you’ve got a gun? I’ve got a bigger gun. I’ve got two guns on you.’ It’s simple psychology, really.”)

The problem with trying to restrict psychopaths’ access to guns is: How do you know what a person qualified to own a firearm intends to do with it? Obviously, something was wrong with the guy who shot all of those innocent people in that movie theater in Aurora. I’m sure it was some psychological issue or depression or drugs—we really won’t know unless they do some blood work on him.

It appeared as though he was convinced that he was doing some kind of military black ops or something: the way he was dressed, the way he went about it, the way he used the whole environment, bought a ticket, went out, came back in the exit… Everything was planned out. The only thing he didn’t plan was his escape. I think he wanted to die. That’s why I truly believe that if the people inside the theater were armed, they could have taken this guy down. There’s no doubt in my mind, that if one person had a gun they could have stopped him.

If you misuse a weapon and kill innocent people, you should be executed. And if it were up to me, I would fry the Aurora shooter, big-time. I’d do it like old times; I’d make it a spectacle and try him in public. Hang him, electrocute him, whatever. Maybe make it a Pay-Per-View special and send the proceeds to the families of the victims and maybe offset some of the costs of keeping him on death row and operating whatever death machine you strap him to. If I were president, that’s exactly what I’d do. No doubt in my mind. Financially, it’s a great deal.

MLB Ass-Grabbery Makes The Wonder Dog Wanna Puke

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 6:04 pm by

Fox Sport’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports Kansas City skipper Ned Yost recently ordered his players to put the kibbosh on friendly chit-chat with members of the opposition while on the basepaths.  If you’re surprised to learn this is the biggest concern facing the last place Royals, perhaps your mind will be equal blown upon discovering Yost’s edict was provoked by complaints from the club’s Fox Sports mouthpieces, Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler.

Lefebvre reiterated his pet peeve again last Monday night after Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales delivered a three-run single in the eighth inning to seal a 6-3 win over the Royals. Moments later, Morales advanced to second, where Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Yuni Betancourt suddenly began smiling and exchanging in conversation with him.

That sight prompted Lefebvre to say: “I don’t want to get on my soapbox again, but if I’m a pitcher, I think it would really burn me to see my middle infielders laughing and joking with a guy who just hit a three-run double off me as he stands on second base. I don’t get it.

“And I’m not saying the Royals are the only team that does it. You see it a lot more these days. If I’m a pitcher, I wouldn’t want to see my guys doing it. I mean, what could be so urgent that you’d have to talk to the guy on the other team who just hit a potentially game-winning hit?

Hudler then chimed in, “You’re not old. Age has nothing to do with it. It’s something I see as well. But it’s a culture that’s not going to change unless some of the veteran guys see to it. Or management says something about it.”

Hudler commented on Kansas City radio station WHB: “You can stand 10 feet away from a player and smooth out the dirt and still talk to a player without giving the appearance that you’re in his back pocket. When you’re in uniform out there, respect the game of baseball and respect your teammates. And stay out of the back pockets of opponents when people are watching. It makes me want to vomit.”

Morganella Brings Shame To Switzerland, DeNiro’s Taxi Driver Mohawk (not necessarily in that order)

Posted in Football, olympics, Racism Corner at 12:09 pm by

(image culled from 101 Great Goals)

Tweeting thoroughly racist, hateful garbage is a somewhat protected tradition in some parts of the world.  For instance, if you’re a weekday evening sports radio host on Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio, not only is that kind of that condoned, but your employer might even encourage you to protect your tweets so you’re never held accountable.  Conversely, the Swiss Olympic Committee must not give a darn about unfettered free expression, as they seem loathe to rise to the defense of right back Michel Morganella, who punctuated a 2-1 loss to South Korea yesterday by calling his opponents, “mentally handicapped retards”.

07.29.12

Is That An Enfield L851A, Or Are You Just Happy To See Kobe Bryant?

Posted in olympics at 9:30 pm by

How many times the past 4 baseball seasons have you watched a Mets home game on SNY and seen acres of empty seats, many of ‘em in Citi Field’s priciest sections? If you’re Mets Executive Vice President Of Lying David Howard, you might do well to consider the c0smetic approach employed by London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games chief Lord Sebastian Coe, who sought military assistance to deal with the embarrassing spectacle.

More than 50 soldiers took seats at the North Greenwich Arena on Sunday morning when they were left empty by the “Olympic family”. Some of the troops, working at the Olympics to provide security, said they were scheduled to start shifts but instead were offered courtside seats at the basketball arena to watch the USA v France.

Despite featuring superstars including Kobe Bryant and being close to a sellout with the public, there were around 40 empty seats in the arena reserved for Olympic and sporting officials. “We’re seat fillers,” said one of 15 soldiers drafted on Sunday afternoon. “They asked who likes basketball and we put our hands up.”

The London organising committee (Locog) refused to rule out offering seats to G4S staff if the problem persists. The action came after the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said on Saturday the empty seats were “very disappointing” and Locog launched an investigation. Organisers indicated international sporting federations are the main cause of the problem in the accredited areas, and the International Olympic Committee has told them to deal with the issue.

Pictures of athletes competing against banks of empty seats were beamed around the world on the first day of competition but Lord Coe, the Locog chairman, was initially dismissive of the problem, saying on Sunday: “Those venues are stuffed to the gunnels.”

He denied that having troops fill seats appeared shambolic. “If we have the army sitting there on rest periods we can ask them if they want to sit in there and watch it,” he said. “We take it seriously. I don’t want to see swathes of those seats empty.”

SF Scribe Tells Melky, “Sorry For Fingering You”

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, twitter twatter at 12:49 pm by

What would possess CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggerly to publicly float a rumor (via Twitter, natch) that Giants OF Melky Cabrera had recently flunked a drug test?  “We live in a different media universe and the rules are changing every day,” writes Baggerly in offering an explanation rather than an excuse.  At least that’s what I’d hope, as it that would be a pretty lame excuse.

If I were Melky Cabrera, would I appreciate a reporter who knocked down a rumor that was just a whisper in some corners of the Internet? Or would I be royally pissed to see my name mentioned alongside PEDs, no matter the context, by a credentialed, professional journalist?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Well, it should have been obvious to me. It wasn’t.

In retrospect, I made the wrong decision to address these rumors on my Twitter account and disseminate it to my 30,000-plus followers.

So I feel it’s important that I issue a public apology to Melky Cabrera for giving greater voice to a rumor that, to the best of my knowledge and on his word, has absolutely no basis in fact.

I can only hope that he, and the rest of the Giants clubhouse, coaches and front-office personnel, at least understand that my motivations were not nefarious or self-oriented in any way. I wasn’t looking to create a story. I was trying to squash one that has no basis in fact

07.28.12

“High & Outside” : David Yow’s Star Turn In A Film Loosely Based On A Certain Ex-Jays Manager

Posted in Baseball, Cinema, Rock Und Roll at 7:05 pm by

Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid vocalist David Yow describes himself as “ambivalent” towards baseball, so he brings relatively little bagger to his role in the upcoming “High & Outside”. If the story below, as told to Vice’s Sam Reiss, rings familiar, that’s because the film’s inspiration, Tim Johnson, was one of the more notorious resume-polishers this side of Dino Costa George O’Leary.

So there’s a Kickstarter, and it’s a baseball movie, right?
Yeah. Evald Johnson, the fella who came up with the idea and directed it, his father was–is–a guy named Tim Johnson, and he was something of a baseball player, and after he played, he was managing teams and stuff and there was some controversy at some point with Tim, and honestly, I don’t even know what that is, I’m sure I could find out but nonetheless, it’s not autobiographical but uh…

It draws on it? On his baseball experiences.
Yeah, completely, and just the way baseball players deal with each other, their relationships with women and stuff like that, you know.

Is it mostly on the baseball field? It seems like most of the trailer was his dad and your character, who works in a nursing home?
Well, to answer the first part of that, I don’t think most of it is on the baseball field. At first it seemed to me the occupation that it centers around–baseball–was almost secondary, like if he had been some executive or something like that. But now, since some time has gone by and I’ve learned more stuff, it is important that it’s baseball. But it’s not a sports movie.

It’s more of a noir…
Yeah, and one of the things that Evald has pointed out, was that very often baseball women, like baseball groupies, or girlfriends, or wives, it seems that they take the beating. Not a physical beating, but they just take a lot of shit and continue to come back. Sort of like groupies, in a way.

Derek Erdman’s Salute To Stadiums Hardly Anyone Misses

Posted in Baseball, Modern Art at 6:32 pm by

I probably shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Derek Erdman to pay homage to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, Minneapolis’ Metrodome or St. Petersberg’s Tropicana Field (particularly as the latter two are still in use).